Kathleen Draper, MBA

Kathleen Draper, MBA '12, currently is an entrepreneur working at Finger Lakes Biochar at Cornell University's Technology Farm, New York

She describes herself as "a biochar maven on a mission to 'plant waste wisely' by turning local agricultural waste into a value-added carbon-negative soil conditioner."

"Biochar is a carbon-negative technology that is on the cusp of emerging from research labs to the marketplace," said Kathleen. "Currently there are very few business models in the U.S. or elsewhere for biochar production." Her capstone was focused on creating a small-scale replicable business model which keeps production and markets local, to maximize the carbon-negative aspects of the technology. She recently launched a pilot project in the Finger Lakes region of western New York.

"Initially biochar and biochar blends will be sold to organic gardeners, greenhouses, farmers, turf management and environmental remediation consultants. In the future, services to manage organic waste on-site will be offered to farmers to minimize transportation, minimize costs and provide on-site education opportunities for farmers in terms of why and how to use biochar while managing waste."